Well, this was expected, was it not? After Chris Paul and Blake Griffin left Game 4 with their respective injuries, the Los Angeles Clippers faced Portland in Game 5 for the first time without their All-Stars. They lost 108-98, and the series now favors the Trail Blazers at 3-2.
The Clippers played shockingly well through the first half and entered the break with a 50-45 lead over Portland. Their offense struggled a bit and shot 45% from the field, but DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick were able to find some rhythm and chip in 10 points each; Austin Rivers had nine while filling in for Paul. Jordan, along with his scoring output, anchored the defense and pulled down 11 boards and swatted three shots in the half.
The Trail Blazers’ offense was bottled up, and Los Angeles did a marvelous job of shutting down Damian Lillard, who had just three points on 0/5 shooting in the first half. Maurice Harkless was huge for the Blazers staying relevant in the half and poured in 17 points on 6/11 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds.
Portland’s stagnant offense looked more lively in the third as they netted 26 points on an improved field goal percentage of 48%. C.J. McCollum heated up a bit and registered ten points in the quarter while Damian Lillard was still unable to get on track, finishing with just three points.
Rivers, Redick, and Jordan all had ghastly performances as Los Angeles strained to record just 21 third quarter points on 6/18 shooting. Jamal Crawford and Jeff Green were able to pick up the slack, fortunately, and combined for 18 points on 5/9 shooting; the trio above had three combined points on 1/8 shooting. Heading into the fourth, the score was tied at 71.
After holding Lillard to six points through three quarters, the Clippers were unable to stop him in the fourth and Dame went off for 16. He shot 4/6 from three and 6/10 from the field overall as Portland outscored Los Angeles 37-27 in the quarter. Redick’s nine points were enough to lead the Clippers in the fourth, but no one else was able to get rolling on offense. Green and Crawford, who had 18 points in the quarter before, had just one combined point on 0/5 shooting.
C.J. McCollum was the game’s leading scorer with 27, and Lillard was next on the Blazers with 22; Harkless and Mason Plumlee both recorded double-doubles — 19 points, ten boards for Harkless; ten points, 15 rebounds for Plumlee.
Los Angeles had six players in double-digits: Redick (19), Crawford (17), Green (17), Jordan (16), Rivers (13), and Cole Aldrich (11). Jordan added 17 rebounds to his performance.
The Trail Blazers can end the series on Friday, April 29, in Portland.